Tag Archives: Gadgets

Love IPL? Get the V5Plus limited edition phone

What do the IPL, actress Soha Ali Khan and the colour black have in common? The V5Plus limited edition smartphone of course! Vivo, the title sponsor of the premier Twenty20 competition, has launched this special edition phone in a beautiful matte black for ardent fans of cricket. Engraved with the VIVOIPL logo at the back, this phone seems like a real stunner not just for its connection to the IPL but also for its unbeatable features. Here’s a sneak peak.

Vivo V5Plus limited edition phone

Vivo has brought out the matte black V5Plus limited edition phone to celebrate ten years of IPL and it comes powered with an incredible dual 20 MP and 8 MP front camera. It offers the kind of depth of field that you normally get only  in high-end cameras. Imagine the character your selfies would have, with the beautifully blurred background which is enhanced by the digitally optical algorithm to generate an amazing Bokeh effect. I for one, can’t wait to try it for myself. At 16MP, the rear camera is impressive as well. The phone promises a rich user experience with a 5.5FHD display with Corning Gorilla glass. It runs on Funtouch OS 3.0 Operating system based on Android 6.0 and is powered by the robust Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 Octa-core CPU.

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Vivo has fast become one of the leading smartphone brands in India and with its association with India’s favourite cricket championship, it’s set to top the popularity charts. Rahul Johri, CEO – BCCI says, “Leading the way through constant creativity and innovation, both brands – IPL & Vivo share a commitment to achieving the highest standards. Vivo came on board last year to become the title sponsor of the premier Twenty20 competition in the world and it has been a mutually rewarding association since then.” Vivo India currently has its presence in more than 400 cities in 22 states, with a strong focus on camera and music. Vivo is one of the fastest growing companies in India and one of the top 10 smartphone brands in the world.

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Truth be told, we only need a reason to splurge on a shiny new smartphone. And if the VIVO IPL month is your favourite one in the entire year, it makes sense to break the bank to get this phone. And Rs 25,990, it’s definitely within reach. Vivek Zhang, CMO, Vivo India has this to say, “The idea behind the launch of a limited edition phone was to offer our consumers not just the phone but an experience they can cherish for a lifetime. We have given the strictest attention to the design and feel of the phone and our focus is to offer an exclusive experience to the cricket crazy audience.”

Specifications at a glance

  • 20 MP Dual Front Camera and 16 MP Rear Camera
  • 13.87 cm (5.5) FHD Display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 Octa-core CPU
  • 4 GB RAM/64 GB ROM
  • Battery 3055 mAh
  • 4G LTE Network

While it’s already available in the market in gold, the matte black edition of the phone which went on sale on 10th April on Flipkart, modern trade outlets and Vivo exclusive stores only is being offered at a competitive price of Rs 25,990. So hurry up and go grab them!

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Vasai Fort with Coolpad Cool 1

It’s hard to imagine today’s edifices lasting for over 400 years. Yet, Fort Bassein, better known as Vasai Fort due to its location in Vasai East, has managed exactly that. Though several parts of the fort are in ruins, many still retain their formidable aura. Back in 1535, the Portuguese built the fort to protect their capital, then named Fortaleza de São Sebastião de Baçaim or the Fort of St. Sebastian of Vasai. In 1739, the Marathas captured the fort under the leadership of Chimaji Appa and ruled it until 1818.

Vasai Fort

Vasai is only an hour’s bus ride away from Mulund, the last suburb of Mumbai city on the central line. And a brand new silver Coolpad Cool 1 in my possession for review provided the perfect excuse for making the trip. With the aid of its dual 13 MP back camera and a 4000 mAh battery that seems to last and last, I captured various facets of the vast fort complex, surrounding jetty and two beautiful, tranquil temples.

Shri Nageshwar Temple, Vasai
Shri Nageshwar Temple

We set off early on a Saturday morning to explore Vasai Fort and its treasures. After a long bus ride and a packed sandwich for breakfast, I whipped out my Coolpad Cool 1 to start taking pictures. Imagine my chagrin when I saw a multitude of photo shoots taking place in various corners of the fort – some appeared to be pre-wedding shoots while others were simply college kids in quest of a perfect profile picture. Some climbing and exploring however, led us to spots unmarred by other human presence.

Vasai Fort

If I found marvels when I looked up, I found them when I looked down as well. Beautiful carvings and inscriptions added character to the stone walls, ceilings and floor. I wish I knew what they meant. But I was glad the Coolpad Cool 1’s camera seemed capable of recording them with perfect clarity. The only negative was that the display went blank in harsh sunlight and I didn’t know what I was clicking.

Vasai Fort

Coolpad Cool 1 comes with LeEco software and I recognised the familiar interface, having reviewed the LeEco Le 2 before. One thing I love about this user interface is that photos get clicked very fast – no loss of time at all and much speedier than many other phones. The phone didn’t feel heavy either and I enjoyed its smooth corners and sturdy grip. We went down many trails and paths – some which led nowhere and others looped around to the same spots that we had left behind.

Just when we thought we were done with the fort, we’d spot yet another part, surprisingly intact even after all this time. We did see restoration work taking place in the fort as well. Tiny water bodies added to the beauty of the landscape – it would be a good idea to come here in the monsoons and see them overflow with mother nature’s richness.

Vasai Fort

The fort is replete with various species of birds, trees and a few flowers. We heard the calls of several birds but their identity was concealed by the foliage. The flowers were easier to capture. Here is a close-up using the Coolpad Cool 1, that I was quite satisfied with.

Purple flowers at Vasai Fort

Eventually, as all the fort structures began to resemble each other, we decided to go in search of the jetty we had heard of. Here, you can book group and individual boat rides for upwards of Rs 100 per adult but do enquire in advance. I wasn’t pleased by the amount of garbage in the water but it still made for a refreshing diversion. There is also a beach in Vasai which I plan to visit at a future date.

Jetty at Vasai

The Coolpad Cool 1 comes packed with many interesting photo and video effects such as slow motion, long exposure and GIF. You can add stickers of many kinds to your photos, both while clicking and during editing. I shall explore these features in depth in another review on my other blog but here is a panorama photograph of the fort.

Panorama view of Vasai Fort

While most of the photos in this post haven’t been edited, I had to add some light to the panorama photo because it was simply too dark. None of the panorama photos I tried clicking had sufficient visibility. We also spotted two lovely temples beside a lake adjoining the fort – Shri Nageshwar Mandir and Shri Vajreshwari Yogini Devi Mandir.

It was such a relief to rest our tired feet at the cool temple grounds after paying homage to the deities. A few dogs kept us company. Here is a beautiful door I spotted at one of the temples.

Temple door at Vasai

How to reach Vasai Fort, jetty and temples: Take a train to Vasai Railway Station and then a rickshaw from Vasai East. If coming from Mulund or Thane, you can board any ST bus to Vasai and alight at the Vasai Fort stop. The fort, temple and jetty area is perfect for a picnic and the sunset is said to be spectacular but try not to stay after dark.

Coolpad Cool 1 specifications

Coolpad Cool 1 Review

  • Display: 5.5”, IPS, FHD 1920 x 1080
  • RAM: 3GB/4GB
  • ROM: 32GB (non-expandable)
  • Camera: Dual 13MP AF rear; f/2.2, 8MP front
  • Sensor: Infrared controller,Gyroscope fingerprint,Accelerometer Proximity Sensor, Light sensor
  • OS: Android 6.0
  • Colours: Silver, gold
  • Battery: 4000mAh Stand by time up to 300H
  • Weight: 173g
  • Network: 2G/3G/4G
  • Chipset: MSM8976 1.8GHz Octa-core Adreno 510

Get it at Rs 13,999 on Amazon

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LeEco Le 2 review: A true winner

The Le 2 smartphone from the Le Eco brand was launched in April 2016 but I hadn’t heard of it until a beautiful rose gold handset made its way to my humble home a week ago. I’ll be honest – I had some trepidation about the colour as some reviews had called it ‘pink’ rather than rose gold. Trust me, the colour is neither too feminine nor too loud. It’s just gold with a hint of dusty pink. See for yourself.

 

At 5.5 inches, the phone fit perfectly in my palm and I was pleased with the HD display, on par with phones that are priced much higher. Le 2 is priced at Rs 11,999 (even lower if you get it during the online sales) but its specifications match those of more expensive models. A 16 MP back and 8 MP front camera, 3 GB RAM, 32 GB ROM, 3000 mAh battery and Android Marshmallow OS are just some of the highlights.

Camera

You might wonder – what difference does it make whether you have a 13 or 16 MP camera? As it happens, quite a bit. Especially when the camera comes with phase detection autofocus, dual-LED (dual tone) flash and of course, panorama and HDR. Here is an image taken from the bridge at CST Railway station in the morning with Le 2, slightly improved with Instagram’s Amaro filter:

I think the Le 2 is well suited for travel photography given its excellent clarity, focus and ability to fill in light in dark surroundings. Sometimes, the phone-provided brightness proves to be excessive but can that be remedied by tilting the phone slightly. The 8 MP front camera comes with a beautification mode that is not too overwhelming. Here is an unedited indoor selfie taken with an overhead light:

Selfie with Le 2

As a travel writer, I expect my phone to deliver jerk-free, clear videos with good audio. Le 2 performs quite well on this front and comes with three speeds – 2160p@30fps, 1080p@30fps and 720p@120fps. Check out this video of CST I shot in the night with Le 2:

Night photography with Le 2 is not as simple with even the slightest movement resulting in a blurry image. But if you have an extremely steady hand, you can still get good images in the darkness. Here is a panorama photograph of CST station decked up in the customary night lights. Did you know that they change every day? And on special occasions, there is thematic lighting such as tri-colour lights on Independence Day.

CST station, Mumbai lit up in the night

Appearance

There is no extra space on the sides which lends the Le 2 a clean, sleek look although seen sideways, it’s not as slim as some other recently launched phones. The phone is reasonably light at 153 grams and comes with the dual SIM feature. Apart from the popular rose gold, the phone is also available in gold, grey and silver.

Sound

CDLA Type-C earphones with Le 2

The ear phones that come with the phone look fancy and for good reason. They are the world’s first CDLA Type-C interface, replacing the traditional 3.5mm earphones and come with end-to- end lossless digital music transmission. Although individually priced at Rs 1,999, the earphones are bundled with the smartphone and offer a truly spectacular music experience. You have to try it to believe it.

Other aspects

If you’re a Reliance Jio SIM user, you’ll be happy to know that Le 2 supports 4G networks in addition to 3G, LTE and GSM. Although I haven’t tried it yet, Le 2 owners can take advantage of the LeEco Membership program, which gives them access to 2000+ Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi and Bengali films; 3000+ hours of curated shows, 150+ live TV channels and 3.5 million songs. Le 2 has an excellent fingerprint scanner and bi-directional charging connection as well.

Need to know

While the LeEco Le 2 scores excellently on most fronts, here are a few aspects you should be aware of before purchasing it:

  • The memory is non-extendable but 32 GB should suffice for your needs.
  • The charging port is not the same as other Android phones; so make sure you don’t lose the charger that comes with the phone.
  • The audio jack is not the conventional 3.5mm but promises to deliver superior sound quality.
  • Le 2 has a nano SIM slot so you may need to cut your SIM card.

In the process of reviewing LeEco Le 2, I appreciated the beauty of my city and the magic of everyday sights a little more. And for that, I am glad.

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Exploring Bandra with Coolpad Mega 2.5D

It’s a bright and summery Saturday morning and my day out is made all the more better by the chic royal gold phone nestled in my bag – the all-new Coolpad Mega 2.5D. Given that it has an 8MP front and back camera, 16GB ROM and 3GB RAM at a throwaway price of Rs 6,999, it doesn’t deserve to remain stashed in my bag. And so, I whip it out to click some pictures of Nirmal Lifestyle mall in Mulund West, Mumbai. I’m amazed with the results. The colours, light and clarity are much more than I’d expect of an 8MP camera.

 

You often find the best pictures when you look up. This is the roof of the mall.
You often find the best pictures when you look up. This is the roof of the mall.
Coolpad Mega 2.5D's selfie camera can guess your age. It's a really cool feature that can lead to a lot of fun and squabbles too! It lowered my age significantly so I was really happy. The smart beautification mode made me look fairer. The wide angle allows several people to fit easily in one frame.
Coolpad Mega 2.5D’s selfie camera can guess your age. It’s a really cool feature that can lead to a lot of fun and squabbles too! It lowers my age significantly so I’m really happy. The smart beautification mode makes me look fairer. The wide angle allows several people to fit easily in one frame.
Nirmal Lifestyle Mall, Mulund West, Mumbai
The painted tree is an unexpected artistic touch to the mall.

I’m here to watch Rustom at PVR, starring Akshay Kumar and Ileana D’Cruz. Based on the 1959 case involving commander KM Nanavati, the film proves to be immensely gripping and I enjoy the various twists and turns in this multi-faceted murder mystery. So what else is on my agenda for the day? I plan to have a simple lunch at Dadar and then head to Bandra to explore the seaside at Bandstand, Castella de Aguada a.k.a. Bandra Fort and the adjacent Pahadi Udyan (Mountain Garden).

After the engrossing film, I brave the local trains as I do everyday, to reach Dadar from Mulund. The colourful movement of the earring stand catches my eye and I take a picture. It’s common to see vendors selling wares of different kinds in Mumbai’s trains, ranging from accessories to bags, pouches, clothing, medicines, make-up and food items.

So many people, lost in their own worlds.
So many people, lost in their own worlds.

Right outside Dadar station on the eastern side, there are a number of low-cost but popular eateries dishing out vegetarian fare. I find a table at Shubham restaurant and place an order for a tomato and union uttapam. It comes with a bowl of steaming hot, sweet and spicy sambhar and a little vati of coconut chutney. The place is abuzz with families, children and diners of all ages and backgrounds – a true microcosm of the city.

I love how the camera focused only on the food item and not the background
I love how the camera focuses only on the food item and not the background.
I take a short stroll around the area after lunch and spot this pretty temple. There isn't much loss of quality even when I zoom in the camera.
I take a short stroll around the area after lunch and spot this pretty temple. There isn’t much loss of quality even when I zoom in the camera.

Fortified with tasty South Indian fare, I get a ticket for Bandra and board the train again, this time on the western line. It hasn’t rained a single drop and the weather remains bright and warm – a great day for photographs. I hail a rickshaw for Bandstand and ask him to stop at Mannat, Shah Rukh Khan’s bungalow. I don’t even have to see the building to know it’s his house – the bunch of excited fans clicking selfies outside the gate is proof enough.

Mannat, Shah Rukh Khan's bungalow at Land's End, Bandra, Mumbai
This photo is zoomed in as well. I wait for 5 minutes but the crowds refuse to budge!
I admire the architecture of Bandra station.
I admire the architecture of Bandra station.

All the seas in and around Mumbai are swollen with water in this monsoon season and Bandstand is no exception. Due to high tide, the water reaches much further inwards and I have a wonderful view of the waves crashing on the rocks. I clamber on to them like many others though we are careful not to venture into the water. I see a couple of fishermen trying their luck with long rods. Many families are busy clicking selfies and enjoying this little piece of paradise in an otherwise concrete city. As always, I fantasise about owning a house here but alas, real estate in Mumbai is atrociously expensive.

I'm sitting on the rocks as I take this picture. Pure bliss!
I’m sitting on the rocks as I take this picture. Pure bliss!
Selfie toh banta hai boss.
Selfie toh banta hai boss.

Did you know that Bandra used to be called Bandora in the 15th century? Built by the Portuguese in 1640, Castella de Aguada or Bandra Fort as it’s popularly known, is surrounded by several fresh water springs. After I’ve had my fill of the sea, I come here to photograph what remains of the fort and feast my eyes on Bandra Worli Sea Link in the distance. Some adventurous couples make their way down the rocks to reach the bottom and find some privacy! The featured image that you see at the beginning of this post is a panorama shot. Coolpad Mega 2.5D has an exceptionally good panorama feature and there is absolutely no loss of quality as long as your hand is still.

The fort is no longer forbidding but I respect its history.
The fort is no longer forbidding but I respect its history.
The unbeatably gorgeous sea link
The unbeatably gorgeous sea link

The last part of my day out with Coolpad Mega 2.5D is spent at the landscaped Pahadi Garden adjacent to the fort. Although primarily occupied by couples, the garden is beautiful with its steps and green expanses and serene views of the sea through a net. I spot a couple of foreigners seriously making notes and discussing a matter of concern. A few men loiter around aimlessly and some like me, are just enjoying the refreshing breeze and respite from the sun.

The greenery is a sight for sore eyes.
The greenery is a sight for sore eyes.
Some potted plants spread more cheer.
Some potted plants spread more cheer.

I didn’t visit Mount Mary Church on my day out but if you plan a Bandra excursion, you should definitely go. And here are the salient features of my trusted companion:

Product name Coolpad Mega 2.5D
OS Name Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Screen Size 5.5″ HD IPS Display
Camera Resolution 8.0MP+8.0MP
Processor MT6735P Quad Core
Battery Capacity 2500mAh
Memory 16GB+3GB
SIM Dual-SIM (4G+4G)/Sim2 Hybrid Slot
Connectivity WLAN/4G/Bluetooth
Colours Royal gold/white/black

None of the photos in this post have been edited or enhanced. What you see is what you will get with the Coolpad Mega 2.5D, priced at Rs 6,999 only and available exclusively on Amazon.in. The first flash sale is on 24th August and registrations began on 10th August. Check out this detailed review of its technical specifications.

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